Director: Michael J. Bassett
Cast: Sean Bean, Adelaide Clemens, Radha Mitchell, Carrie-Anne Moss, Malcolm McDowell, Martin Donovan, Heather Marks
RunTime: 1 hr 35 mins
Rating: NC-16 (Violence and Gore)
Released By: Shaw
Official Website: https://www.facebook.com/SilentHillRevelation
Opening Day: 6 December 2012
Synopsis: Heather Mason and her father have been on the run, always one step ahead of dangerous forces that she doesn't fully understand, Now on the eve of her 18th birthday, plagued by horrific nightmares and the disappearance of her father, Heather discovers she's not who she thinks she is. The revelation leads her deeper into a demonic world that threatens to trap her forever.
There are numerous reasons why you might not be able to remember the Silent Hill franchise – neither in its original videogame format nor its movie form – in a few years’ time. Once the subject of much critical praise, the horror videogame series has been worn down to a seemingly endless run of aimless spin-offs and imagination is quickly expiring. But the franchise has always been able to retain its fair share of rabid fans and wikis devoted to explaining every nook and cranny of its stories, for some reason, and that has automatically made it one of the most adaptation-worthy game series around. So now we have arrived at the second Silent Hill movie.
You might wonder if it’s for better or for worse, but there’s never much time in Revelation 3D for you to put that thought into serious consideration. Michael J. Bassett, taking over directing duties from Christophe Gans who helmed the 2006 original, rudely pushes viewers into a hellhole of ominously charged imagery even before you’re introduced to any sort of exposition. If you’re not used to this confusing watch-first-and-I-will-explain-later style of filmmaking, then you had better conform yourself to it as quickly as possible or you might experience more difficulties in watching the movie. The narrative is delivered in untidy chunks, succeeding only in exacerbating an already garbled plot and breaking the momentum of the action.
Much of this narrative surrounds a certain Heath Mason, who is constantly moving house and changing identities in order to escape capture by the ‘Order of Valtiel’. Not that she needs any reminder of danger, but daily nightmares and lingering suspicions of her nightmares being real certainly don’t help. She is forced to confront her fears when her father is kidnapped under mysterious circumstances one day. To rescue her father, she needs to venture into Silent Hill, the abandoned town that is forever blanketed in falling ashes and fog, and retrieve the ‘Seal of Metatron’ from a lunatic tucked away in a crumbling asylum.
If all these terms and plot points sound like nonsense to you, or if you don’t know what Silent Hill is or why its former residents deserted it, then you have either discovered Revelation 3D’s biggest problem or found out that the movie isn’t intended for you. It feels less like a proper movie and more like glorified fan fiction, shaped into a CG heavy spectacle by the most obtuse of directions. An explicit understanding of the game’s lore or the 2006 original (which I suspect that everyone except the most enthusiastic of Silent Hill fans would have already forgotten) is required even if you want only half the enjoyment Revelation 3D offers.
Which is to say Revelation 3D isn’t a great movie. To even call it bad would be generous. Michael J. Bassett certainly knows his way around constructing fantastical 3D worlds, and if the swirling ashes that seem to literally envelop the viewers are of any indication, it also means that he’s capable of delivering visual effects with the kind of technical élan that has so far eluded most filmmakers. Yet he drops the ball on what made the original so occasionally fun: tension. Mason might have been unprepared for the situation, but she never feels like she could be in any immediate danger. Instead, we are left to gawk at the parade of monsters going through their paces.
When all is said, the only thing that remains to be decided is whether you need to watch Revelation 3D. Unless you’re really committed to the videogame, it’s pointless to bother watching the movie. The 2006 original offered the novel sight of Silent Hill on the big screen, showered in a compelling story intertwined with the action and a drawn-out, but intense conclusion. Six years on, this half-hearted sequel is now low on novelty and even lower on enjoyment. Revelation 3D is a forgettable mess, lacking in every aspect save the 3D visual effects. Another sequel is not necessary but if Hollywood trends are to be believed, the Silent Hill movie franchise may yet turn into the next Resident Evil.
(This garbled sequel to 2006’s Silent Hill is a forgettable mess that will only interest the most fervent of the horror videogame franchise’s fans)
Review by Loh Yong Jian